Future PR Pros: How to Network & Prepare for a Career in PR while in College
As an aspiring PR professional entering corporate America, there are many different strategies to accomplish your career goals. Before anything else, remember this: you are your greatest asset. Recognize the limitless resources you have around you, and utilize them to their greatest abilities. Here are just a few tips to get you started!
- NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
Networking is probably one of the most crucial resources you have easy access to within the professional world. This skill can easily be developed during your years as an undergrad; communicating with professors and academic professionals can potentially aid you in taking that next step into the corporate world.Networking is like a head start in your competitive job search. Once your undergraduate career is complete, and you begin looking to start your career, you become a single number in a sea of millions. How will you distinguish yourself? What resources will you utilize to set yourself apart from the next guy? It’s not always just what you know, it’s also who you know.Have a favorite PR or Communications professor? Network with them! More times than not you’ll find that these professors are willing to assist you in your career goals and serve as a valuable resource. Remember at one point these people were also young, aspiring PR professionals too!Find out if your college or university has a Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. This organization is aimed at nurturing future communications and public relations professionals. Groups such as these are networking gold.
- Make yourself an elevator pitch
No matter which career path you choose, the ability to market yourself is crucial. Make sure you always have an elevator pitch handy and ready to go. Keep in mind this is not a sales pitch, it is merely a concise and well-developed introduction to who you are and what you’re capable of.Make it short and sweet, only including the essentials, and don’t be scared to give it a little flavor! In other words, don’t sound like you’re reading straight from a script. Be human, and show genuine interest. That tends to go a long way in terms of being memorable.
- Always have questions, and good ones at that
Always have questions hidden up your sleeve. There is no such thing as a dumb question, but there is such a thing as a careless one. Don’t memorize the same generic questions and spit them out to every PR professional you meet with. Have a few general questions in mind, and tailor the rest to the appropriate person, position, or firm you are connecting with. Help them envision you in this position or firm, and more importantly, their company’s future. Show them you’ve done your homework.
These tips are just the groundwork to building your future in the PR world. Always remember to utilize all the resources at your disposal, never burn any bridges and always show up three steps ahead. As you go advance through your career, you’ll certainly learn to value the connections you’ve made along the way, I can guarantee that.